NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/2/17

August 2, 2017

Casey James Salengo, Melissa Villasenor, and Joe PeraMelissa Villaseñor (above middle; delightful cast member of Saturday Night Live), Joe Pera (above right; hilarious deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Casey James Salengo (above left; Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness), and Kristy Belich (former scientist) perform stand-up and/or explain how to succeed in show biz hosted by Ree Ree Soko & Carmen: Fake It Till You Make It (8:30 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher…Two of the sharpest and most likeable comics in the biz, Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher, celebrate their getting married (back in October 2015) with this “Honeymoon Tour” in which each performs a long solo stand-up set and then the two of them play around on stage as a couple. For one night only in Brooklyn: Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher: The Endless Honeymoon Tour (8:00 pm; $29, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; Please NOTE: As of this morning, this show has SOLD OUT)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/2: The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, and Vince Staples; 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:15 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:00 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): James Dwyer & Jackie Jennings have written dozens of discarded ideas for shows on slips of paper and dumped them all into a bag. Every five minutes they’ll ask an audience member to reach in and pull an idea out, and will then perform it…as a five-minute show. Then they’ll repeat the cycle. Examples of rejected ideas include “Last Living Tae Bo Instructor Does a Workout” and “Hamilton The Musical—But It’s Different.” It all happens at the UCB Chelsea theatre: A Big Dumb Thing

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/3/17

The Chris Gethard ShowGo out tonight, but record the debut episode of The Chris Gethard Show on its new cable network, TruTV (a move up from the compelling but almost hidden first two seasons on Fusion). The official description: “Chris Gethard attempts to ring-lead a panel of comedian friends and oddballs, along with a live studio audience, who participate in games, tackle bizarre stunts, and react to the controlled chaos around them. Add to that fans from the around the world calling in to participate in the show, and it’s a totally immersive, interactive experience for all.” The only other thing you need to know is Chris is a comedy genius, and anything he does is special and worth checking out. The mayhem runs from 11:00 pm to midnight, and is repeated from 3:00 am to 4:00 am (presumably in case you need to switch to Comedy Central at 11:30 pm to catch Chris’ decades-long friend and fellow ace improvisor Anthony Atamanuik’s The President Show).

Mark Normand and Jimmy FallonStand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages Mark Normand (above; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Josiah Madigan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; ABC, MTV, NatGeo, NPR’s Ask Me Another), and Brock Mahan (Emmy-winning writer/producer; Comedy Central, Discovery, VH1, NatGeo, NPR; co-publisher of magazine Eel Fancy) hosted by Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV): Serious Matters (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Artie Lange…or see a comic who’s been a cast member of MAD TV and The Howard Stern Show, was a guest star on HBO’s Crashing, acted in a bunch of feature films, wrote the bestselling books Too Fat to Fish and Crash and Burn, and hosts The Artie Quitter Podcast headline tonight through Saturday at Carolines: Artie Lange (7:30 pm tonight, 7:30 & 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday; $41 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

No Such Thing as Love…or check out comics sharing tales of lost loves, heartbreak, and hopelessness, with tonight’s victims Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends), Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend), EA Hanks (Vanity Fair, Huffington Post), and hosts Claire Burns & Jessie Jolles: No Such Thing as Love (7:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/3: Big Boi; 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Typically sharp stand-ups perform at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($7): Two improv groups—sometimes established powerhouses, and sometimes underdogs who totally surprise—compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 8/4/17

@midnight with Chris HardwickGo out tonight, but set your recording device to the 600th and final episode of @midnight. Brilliant and lightning-quick Chris Hardwick has developed into a network star, and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on NBC (where he currently hosts prime time game show The Wall). Meanwhile, let’s cherish the four seasons that Chris hosted @midnight, which debuted on October 21, 2013, and developed into one of the wittiest and most fun series on TV—and became an international showcase for hundreds of superb comics, many with little or no previous TV credits. There are few series that are have served the entire wide-ranging comedy community as thoughtfully and thoroughly as @midnight, and we owe Chris, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and everyone else involved debts of gratitude. The very last show airs, appropriately, at midnight tonight, running a full hour till 1:00 am on Comedy Central.

Artie LangeA comic who’s been a cast member of MAD TV and The Howard Stern Show, was a guest star on HBO’s Crashing, acted in a bunch of feature films, wrote the bestselling books Too Fat to Fish and Crash and Burn, and hosts The Artie Quitter Podcast headlines tonight & Saturday at Carolines: Artie Lange (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

15 Villainous Fools…or if you prefer theatre, see Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing. If you can’t catch it tonight, subsequent performances are at 8:00 pm on 8/5, 8/16, 8/18, and 8/19: 15 Villainous Fools (8:00 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/4: The Roots; 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($15 cover for FBPL shows, $24 cover for CC & VU shows, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Michael Delaney, and/or Silvija Ozols forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): “Join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with typically fun guests at the UCB East theatre hosted by brilliant improvisor Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) & Griffin Newman: The George Lucas Talk Show

NYC Comedy Picks for Saturday 8/5/17

Bad PitchesComics pitch the most awful TV shows they can dream up to a panel of fake TV executives, with cheap prizes to the best of the worst. Tonight’s Hollywood hacks are Lizz Winstead (above right; Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America), Ashley Nicole Black (second from left; writer & correspondent for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee), Anthony DeVito (second from right; Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life, House of Cards), Rod Bastanmehr (above left; Vice), and Sean Crespo (above middle; staff writer for or Full Frontal With Samantha Bee; played a Red Hood on Gotham; co-host of Lasers in the Jungle) hosted by Ned Ehrbar (writer & entertainment journalist for CBS News “who has sold exactly zero TV series”): Bad Pitches (8:30 pm, Free!, Jimmy’s No. 43 back room at 43 East 7th Street)…

Annie Lederman, Jenny Zigrino, and Leah Bonnema…or see Annie Lederman (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, @midnight, This is Not Happening; MTV’s Girl Code; Chelsea Lately), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Jenny Zigrino (Bad Santa 2), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Jaboukie Young-White (Rough Night), and Mike Mercadal (co-host of Zeroes on Heroes podcast) perform stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” hosted by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show (9:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)…

Dave Chappelle…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are special guests, as follows: 8/5: Chris Rock and Jeff Ross; 8/6: Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall; 8/9: Erykah Badu; 8/15: “Very Special Guest;” 8/17: Chance the Rapper; 8/18: Trevor Noah; 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): In this acclaimed monthly show, six NYC stand-ups each perform an 8-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: See You in Hell

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

The Magnet
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 5/23/17

May 23, 2017

Aidy BryantA lovely rare opportunity to see Aidy Bryant (star cast member of Saturday Night Live); plus Gary Richardson, Julia Solomon, and Mikey Heller performing stand-up hosted by Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Charles Gould (Comedy Central), and Dan Licata (The Chris Gethard Show): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show (8:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s NY Distilling Company (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 5:00 pm: Enjoy some of NYC’s best character comics when funny actors who survived the initial auditions for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival gather to be judged further at The Magnet theatre: Just for Laughs Character Audition Callbacks

5:30 pm ($7): Improv and stand-up (details not announced) “dumped here for your pleasure” at The PIT Mainstage: Dump

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

7:00 pm ($7): Comics perform solo characters at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Sarah Smallwood Parsons & Brittany McDonald: Perfect Strangers: A Character Show

7:00 pm ($7): Long form theatrical improv, with piano accompaniment, at The PIT Mainstage: High Status

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

7:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups Von Decarlo, Aminah Imani, Sally Brooks, Sidney Gantt, and Christine Meehan-Berg perform at Ridgewood Queens’ The Footlight Bar (465 Seneca Avenue) produced & hosted by Gracie Canaan: Wreck the Joint

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with stand-ups Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Greg Fitzsimmons, and David Juskow, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At this monthly game show, Emily Tarver (Orange is the New Black), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Rae Sanni, and Dan Black compete to see who can perform the best celebrity impressions at the UCB East theatre judged by Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, co-host of Characters Welcome), and hosted by Andy Beckerman (host of podcast Beginnings, co-host of Couples Therapy) & Ramsey Ess: Snap Impression Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm: Rising stand-ups will do their very best to make you laugh at these auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Just For Laughs Stand-Up Audition Calbacks

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club

8:00 pm ($10): Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, co-host of Backfat Variety) perform stand-up and then sit down to chat with host Evan Rocha at Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody (325 Franklin Avenue): The Talking Show

8:00 pm ($5): UCB house groups Mermaids and Some Kid make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 9:30 pm): Harold Night, Part 1

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A stand-up with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Louie, and who’s also an Emmy-nominated comedy writer and talk show host, headlines at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Nick DiPaolo

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

8:30 pm ($7): A monthly stand-up & storytelling show in which comics are encouraged to hold nothing back at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Caitlin Brodnick & May Wilkerson: Brutally Honest with Caitlin Brodnick

[TOP PICK] 9:00ish pm ($10): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; Conan O’Brien, TruTV, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), Brandon Wardell (Comedy Central’s @midnight, Adam Devine’s House Party, The Meltdown, VICE’s Flophouse), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet

9:30 pm ($7): “The kids in Ms. Stevens AP English class were given a big assignment when the semester started: creatively combine all the texts on their reading list into one short play. But the life of a senior is busy, and they might have put it off a little too long. See The Catcher in the Rye, Oedipus Rex, Jane Eyre, and more somehow smushed together with teen angst, SAT vocab words, and plot lines from The Vampire Diaries the teens are praying their teacher doesn’t notice” at The PIT Mainstage: Ms. Stevens’ AP English Class Presents: A Play

9:00 pm ($7): An improvised game of Dungeons & Dragons at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Campaign

9:30 pm ($7): Sarah Tollemache, Mamoudou N’Diaye, Catherine Cohen, and Pedro Salinas perform stand-up or sketch at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brian Park in the name of a popular comedy site: CollegeHumor Live

9:30 pm ($5): UCB house groups By the Book and Ice Cold Baby make up scenes using the long improv form called The Harold at the UCB Chelsea theatre (see also 8:00 pm): Harold Night, Part 2

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): A sketch show imagining state-run Trump TV at The PIT Underground: Literally Must-See TV

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show) and Tim Dillon (The Chris Gethard Show) perform club-length sets at the UCB East theatre hosted by Emmy Blotnick (rising star; staff writer & warm-up comic for Comedy Central’s spectacular The President Show; writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever): Big Long Sets

11:00 pm ($7): A variety of comics perform in celebration of Asian history at The PIT Underground: Asian Pacific Heritage Month Comedy Show

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

6:00 pm ($3): A chance for gals to get on stage and improvise with veteran female comics at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Blair Silverman and friends: Lady Jam

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 8:30) at Brooklyn’s Little Skips (941 Willoughby Avenue) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Tuesday Night Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class: Slow Jam

11:00 pm ($5): Ten stand-ups whose names are drawn from a “golden bowl of destiny” will be given stage time, along with a few invited stand-ups, at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Will Purpura: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/3/16

December 3, 2016

Pete Holmes: Faces and SoundsOn TV, one of my all-time favorite comics—who spent many years honing his craft in NYC before moving to LA—debuts his first HBO special, Faces and Sounds, which was taped in April in Chicago, and will be broadcast tonight at 10:00 pm, midnight, and 3:15 am…

Joe Pera…and Joe Pera screens a half-hour Christmas special he filmed for Adult Swim (which wil air on December 9th), plus a bunch of other comedy videos, at an entirely free show in Brooklyn: Chestnut Walnut Holiday Screening (6:30 pm-9:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Jim O’Grady (The New York Times, This American Life, WNYC Radio, Moth GrandSlam Champion), Ria Spencer (Account Director for Grey Advertising), Drew Prochaska, and Susan Kent. Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): Musical improv duo Jordan Hirsch & Kathleen Armenti interview an audience member—possibly you—”about your routine, your habits, their whys and wherefores, all of that gives us a window into your soul. And then we’ll make up funny songs about it. If Alexander Hamilton gets a show all about him, why not you? You’re just as interesting and twice as alive as that guy” at The PIT downstairs lounge: You: The Musical

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($3): Sketch, improv, and other comedy forms at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brian Pisano & Josh Bates: The Golden Hour

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Sebastian Conelli invites four of his favorite improvisers—who tonight are the brilliant Connor Ratliff, Chet Siegel, Alexandra Dickson, and Adrian Frimpong—to make up scenes with him at the UCB East theatre: Party of Five

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:00 pm ($5): Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World) and Mike Denny (co-host of Broken Comedy) try out stand-up material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Petey DeAbreu & Mike Denny

7:00 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($5): Mary Houlihan & Sam Taggart perform duo improv, and group Monogamous performs one long 30-minute scene, all at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Mary & Sam Do Two-Prov and Monogamous

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($24.50 online using discount code JOSIE24): One of my favorite comics, Josie Long, is visiting from the UK to perform a blend of storytelling & stand-up through December 3rd that, in the wake of Brexit, is about “wanting more from life than it might be up for giving out.” Josie’s trying to emotionally cope with the far right hijacking her country through outrageous lying and rule breaking, demonstrating that they represent the worst in us rather than the best we’d hope for in our leaders, echoes all that’s happened to Americans since our own recent election. So a small silver lining to Trump’s win is that it’s made Josie’s show utterly relevant to what most New Yorkers are feeling right now… Tonight is your last chance to catch this show at The Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop): Josie Long: Something Better

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. Guest monologists—who tonight is Rob Penty—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

7:30 pm ($10): Comics have heated arguments about trivial things at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Great Nerd Debate

7:30 pm ($8): Crystian Ramirez (Last Comic Standing), Alex English, Dan Rosen, and Aminah Imani performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee (Comedy Central, MTV): Nerd is the New Black

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with guests Heben Nigatu, Prachi Gupta, Katie Compa, and Logan Hill at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Lane Moore: Tinder Live

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): In this mini-play, “When the four most qualified (and emotionally unstable) astronauts money can buy crash-land on the moon, they find there are worse things in space than being out of fuel, out of radio contact, and out of luck. Much worse. But at least they still have plenty of Tang” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Moon Crew

8:00 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($10): Non-comics (booked in advance, this isn’t an open mic) try performing stand-up for the very first time at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Cherry Poppin’ Standies

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): From the folks who created the amazing Hold On To Your Butts and Fly, You Fools!—shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer & Nick Abeel, mesmerizing foley artist Kelsey Didion, stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker, and knows-winners-when-she-sees-them producer Allyson Morgan—create a live-on-stage reenactment of classic Christmas movie Home Alone…complete with puppets…at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Kevin!!!!!

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($10): Corinne Fisher (co-host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), May Wilkerson (writer for someecards), and Jake Fromm performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week (sadly, not announced this week) at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($15): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe that includes Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore and is directed by the brilliant Ellena Chimielewski performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel

10:30 pm ($5): Audience members—maybe you—play for prizes via updates versions of such game shows as Price is Right, 25,000 Pyramid, Make Me Laugh, and “twisted trivia and games that include, music, dancing and fellatio!” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Michael Bertrando, David del Rosario, and Emma Krulik: Game Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A typically brilliant parody of Seinfeld made up on the spot, and now possibly with some politics thrown in, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Improvised Seinfeld: Fuck Steve Bannon

Saturday open mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm, or 4:30 pm on Sundays, through 1/8/17 ($28-$48; use code BBOX20 for discounts): Comedy genius Chris Gethard performs his superb one-man show about anger, depression, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter, seamlessly blending stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm through 12/3, i.e., the run ends tonight ($24.50 online using discount code JOSIE24): One of my favorite comics, Josie Long, is visiting from the UK to perform a blend of storytelling & stand-up through December 3rd that, in the wake of Brexit, is about “wanting more from life than it might be up for giving out.” Josie’s trying to emotionally cope with the far right hijacking her country through outrageous lying and rule breaking, demonstrating that they represent the worst in us rather than the best we’d hope for in our leaders, echoes all that’s happened to Americans since our own recent election. So a small silver lining to Trump’s win is that it’s made Josie’s show utterly relevant to what most New Yorkers are feeling right now… This is your last chance to enjoy the show at The Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop): Josie Long: Something Better

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm; plus 2:00 pm matinees on Saturdays; or 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm on Sundays, through 1/15/17 ($37-$139; use code OHBOX111 for discounts): I haven’t seen this, so can’t comment on its merits; but you should be aware that two of the sharpest and funniest comics in the biz, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, are performing as their old men characters in this Broadway show at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street): Oh, Hello

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/1/16

September 1, 2016

Joe PeraJoe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; killer set on Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Chris Lamberth, and Shalewa Sharpe performing stand-up hosted by Mindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity) & Katie Compa: Golden Spiral Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, HiFi Bar at 169 Avenue A)

More recommendations for the best in NYC comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

7:00 pm & 9:00 pm ($5): All-gal stand-up, sketch, and/or improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Monday Theatre Co.: Yes All Women: A Night of Comedy

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Charlie Pickering performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors remake a blockbuster film or classic story (suggested by the audience) in the style of indie filmmaker Wes Anderson at The PIT downstairs lounge: Forty Minutes in the Style of Wes Anderson: Popular Tales Retold

7:30 pm ($6): All-gal stand-up, with 3 booked comics—who tonight are Kara Buller, Carolyn Bergier, and V. Lince—and 4-minute open mic spots for 13 additional female comics on a first come, first serve basis at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Caitlin McKee: Saw Her Stand Up There

[$] 7:30 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.) A co-star of such movies as I’m Gonna Get You Sucka and White Chicks, and of TV series In Living Color and The Wayans Bros., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Shawn Wayans

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Ashley Ward, and/or Lauren Adams make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a mini-play “exploring everything you love about karaoke: mediocre singing, friendship, Tsing-Tao, accidental meet cutes, homicidal Korean women, and of course your favorite 90’s jams!”: Let’s Check Out That Karaoke Spot!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Hear No Evil (improvisors wear earplugs preventing them from hearing what’s happening on-stage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Aida Rodriguez, Mike Vecchione, Derek Gaines, Aaron Berg, and Yannis Pappas performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Thursday: Sean Patton and More

8:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages Josiah Madigan, Brock Mahan, Anthony DeVito, Dina Hashem, and Jason Kantor performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Kevin McCaffrey: Serious Matters

8:00 pm ($10): Boston comics from group Improv Asylum and from YouTube’s Simply Unemployable perform sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): The T

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club

9:00 pm ($5): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Emmy Blotnick (staff writer for Comedy Central’s Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, previously writer for @midnight; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), John Baglio (The Tonight Show), Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Dave Arena performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): Annoyance Artistic Director Philip Markle performs sketch, cabaret, and more with friends at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Sparkle Zone

9:30 pm ($5): “Right now, you’re here. Meanwhile… There’s something happening in the room next door.. And in the hallway… And on the roof… And in the basement….” The audience provides the time and place, and then improvisors—including Tracy Mull and Ron Hill—make up scenes about all the different things happening then at The PIT downstairs lounge: Meanwhile…

[FREE] 9:00 pm: JC Coccoli (Last Comic Standing, Key & Peele, MTV, VH1, WB), Davey Melch, Liz Magee, and Jenny Rubin performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($5): Indie improv groups Big City and Gypsy 43 make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Indie Takeover

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform 15-minute opening sets and then a 30-minute headlining set at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jenn Welch & Tom Lisi: The Half-Hour Hour

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week The Mannequin Room demolished The Stepfathers with a victory of 132-40. Tonight this chamption team faces improv group Sleuth, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): UCB comics write & perform news-based comedy at the UCB East theatre: NY2: We’re Also the News

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage, at the Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st Street) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (with names selected from a bucket) to do anything you want for 5 minutes—”chat, rant, plug, tell a story, be a character, play a game, review a new religion”—for a podcast recorded at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild & Mike Mercadal: The Open Mic Podcast

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursdays After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

 For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/25/16

April 25, 2016

The Later ShowGary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Frank Garcia-Hejl, and more performing stand-up and/or being interviewed by the memorable Katie Kester: The Later Show (8:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Night Train…and a great lineup of Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Alison Leiby (host of It’s a Long Story), and Khalid A. Rahmaan performing stand-up, plus music from DJ Donwill, hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, opens for Tig Notaro): Night Train (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from two sharp house groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm ($5): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you don’t mind standing): Brilliant improvisors including Scott Adsit, Brian Stack, Aidy Bryant, and Tami Sagher stumble into rehearsed theatre scenes they know nothing about played by Broadway and/or TV stars including Jonathan Kaplan, Amy Rutberg, Sarah Stiles, and Dianna Agron, plus director/host Stephen Ruddy at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Gravid Water

8:00 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): A safe place to try out new material, with tonight’s stand-ups Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, The New Yorker), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Costaki Economopoulos (joke writer for Jay Leno, Bette Midler, and more), and Leighann Lord (BBC, VH1) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show): New Release Day with Christian Finnegan

8:30 pm ($10): Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Trey Galyon, and Tyler Richardson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times): Keep It Surreal with Rob Cantrell

9:00 pm ($7): Two unsettling one-person shows by Phoebe Tyers and “8-year-old Bonnie” at The Magnet theatre: Phoebe Jessy Raphael and Before Bedtime With Bonnie

9:00 pm ($5): An improv pianist plays for four improv acts—two of which are musical improv—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Piano Show

9:30 pm ($5): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT upstairs theatre: Locked Up B*tches

9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: Maude Night: Hot Bird and Pretty Boys

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Your chance to experience one of the best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no charge (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to), with a different stand-up lineup every Monday—tonight featuring a killer lineup of Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Mike Lawrence, Ari Shaffir, Dan Soder, Amber Nelson, and more—at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

10:15 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 3 minutes on stage. Arrive at around 5:45 to sign up, or wait for the late bucket at 6:15, to perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: First Stop Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/6/16

April 6, 2016

Joe PeraIt’s a great night to be at Brooklyn’s Annoyance Theatre, which at 7:00 pm features stand-up by superb comics Ted Alexandro, Jo Firestone, Ryan Hamilton, and Anna Drezen hosted by Josh Gondelman: The Sensible Show; and at 9:30 pm features a one-man show of “stand-up and tap dancing” by the wonderful Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show): Joe Pera: My Railroad (7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $5 per show, Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre at 367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): Pat Dixon, Shane Torres, Sarah Tollemache, and Saurin Choksi perform stand-up and then improv games at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent, Wild ‘N Out): Stand-Up Wars

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Ashley Ward, and/or Lauren Adams make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a hospital drama parody: Dr. Brothers

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A fake QVC show featuring “musical numbers, 80s montages, the apocalypse, dracula, multiple homicides, and two different marriages failing” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bargain Bin Sale of a Lifetime

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This monthly game show asks roommates to answer questions testing how well they know each other (a la The Newlywed Game) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Joe Welkie: Roomie Raiders

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Brooklyn’s Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Avenue) hosted by Bryan Yang & Tyler Rothrock: Comedy Comida

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing for this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Tim Dillon, and Dina Hashem performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jessica Watkins: Homespun Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

9:30 ($5): Over a dozen talented female improvisors—including Lauren Adams, Natasha Vaynblat, and/or Caitlin Bitzegaio, plus guests who tonight include Jo Firestone—parody all-gal opinion shows such as The View, making up most of the show on the spot based on a loose outline at the UCB Chelsea theatre. The result is often proof that “less is more,” but if you’re very patient there are worthwhile moments to be had from The Female Gaze

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and more performing stand-up for this super-affordable weekly club show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Ari Shaffir, Rachel Feinstein, Pete Lee, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines provide color commentary on improv sets by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: Play by Play

11:00 pm ($5): “Improvisers and stand-ups do what they do best…and then switch places to try their hand at what the other does best. Performing to sold out crowds at UCBT-LA, this show is a cross-discipline Cage Match” performing at UCB Chelsea hosted by Boris Khaykin: Impro(vs)tandup

[FREE] 11:15 pm: A gay-themed opportunity to perform improv—especially musical improv—on the UCB East stage: …XYZ Jam

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Vincent Chang: Flynn’s Mic

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Mixer Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Your opportunity to get on stage for an improv jam at UCB East hosted by Hot for Teacher: Hot for Teacher: Student Lounge

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 3/8/16

March 8, 2016

Louis C.K. shares his thoughts about Donald Trump here. Also, Louis has a notable new TV series, Horace and Pete, that isn’t actually on TV but is available for small fees via his website here—and that I hope to get caught up on this week if I can force myself to take a small break from obsessively watching election coverage… And speaking of which: The Confidence GameIf you’re trying to figure out why serial liars Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are doing so well in the Republican primaries, this show hosting lectures on deception from top writers and performers might shed some light: The Confidence Game (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Virtual Reality Comedy Special…or if you’re seeking to experience something different, “WELCOME TO THE FUTURE. Virtual reality is reality as you become part of one of the first live comedy shows filmed for 360 video headsets. You’ll feel like you’re really there (because you will be)” with a killer lineup of Chris Gethard, Jo Firestone, Joe Pera, Julio Torres, and host Brett Davis: Virtual Reality Comedy Special (8:00 pm, $5, Elvis Guesthouse NYC at 85 Avenue A)

 More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, six singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions, followed at 10:15 pm by an improv jam open to the audience hosted by group Midnight Heat: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): David Carl provides a sneak peek at Saturday’s Republican Party Debate—playing all the candidates himself! Not for every taste; to determine if it’s for you, watch these highlights from a previous show. This happens at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Road to the White House

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Brendan Brown (founding member of pop rock band Wheatus) is interviewed about “that one song he’ll never forget,” and also performs songs, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:30 pm & 9:15 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

7:30 pm ($5): A weekly showcase for brand new shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—this time focused on Math, Science and Humanities at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

8:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, tonight features screenings of select films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. The shorts receiving the most audience votes get to continue with additional episodes, while the others are “canceled” at Channel 101

8:00 pm ($5): There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this show, pet owners perform improv along with their real-life pets at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Pet Prov

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups and musicians drink and perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Peele: Party & Bullshit

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Joel Kim Booster, Steven DeSiena, Sam Taggart, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Hayden Maxwell & Ben Wasserman: Hayden & Ben Are Really Into Wine Now

[TOP PICK] 8:15 pm ($15): “Four writers read their own work for seven minutes or less, and are then judged by three all-star judges. Two finalists are chosen to compete in the finale, a vaguely-literary game to decide the ultimate winner,” with tonight’s judges Wyatt Cenac, Ophira Eisenberg, Michael Shannon—and you—at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Literary Death Match

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

8:30 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[TOP PICK] 9:00ish pm ($7): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Jon Rineman (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Dion Flynn (sketch comic for Jimmy Fallon), Ramon Rivas II, and Craig Baldo performing stand-up at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) guest-hosted by NIck Stevens (host of AMC’s Action Park and Discovery’s Money on the Menu; VH1, ESPN): Sweet

9:00 pm ($5): Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Adam Mamawala (MTV), Alison Klemp, Peter K, Wilson McDermut, Rob Santos, and Kristin Seltman performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Angela Cobb: Fun Size & Venti

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Alison Lieby, Matt Ruby, Lukas Kaiser, and Jacqui Rossi present comedic lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Latrine Supreme: A Comprehensive History of Man’s Quest for a Clean Bottom”—at the UCB East theatre produced by Kara Klenk and hosted by Jim Tews: Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Comics and audience members who’ve drunk too much engage in a spelling competition at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jake Flores & Blake Midgette: The Drunk Spelling Bee

10:00 pm ($5): Eight comics each perform solo characters while competing for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Character Clash: A Comedy Tournament

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Eli Sairs & Scott Chaplain and other stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups Nore Davis, Drew Michael, Sarah Tollemache, David Ebert, and more performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Matteo Lane (Comedy Central): Chemistry

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

6:00 pm ($5): A chance for writers and actors to walk in and try out sketches on stage (casting begins at 5:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kristen O’Brien: Cold Cream

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, typically hosted by Jamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage, at the Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st Street) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:15: Sign up at 9:30 pm for the opportunity to make up a musical on the spot with The Magnet improv group Wonderland: Magnet Musical Improv Mixer

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class Jam

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and/or David Frasure: Study Hall

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.